So here's a secret about the text we create for the back cover of our books and the blurbs that go on our website and catalogs. They're usually done at the last minute by a developer who's been working on the product possibly for many months. In my case, that means I get a chance, finally, to play around with some writing of my own, even if it's only for a few paragraphs. When I wrote the blurb for Bestiary 6, I mentioned something called "strangely sentient oozes," because of the new category of ooze I came up with to include in the book. I didn't want to reveal their name or theme yet (that's for this blog post... read on for more!), but I did want to mention them in some way that felt nice to read and fun to write. And so I came up with the phrase "strangely sentient oozes," because I enjoyed the sound of the phrase; its consonance makes you hiss when you read it, which evokes in the mind (in theory) imagery of something slithering and sliding sloppily in subterranean sloughs or sepulchral sewers. See? I wasn't trying to give folks hints as to a new system of calculating intelligence for ooze monsters or trying to make folks deduce the nature of how a primordial ooze might become self-aware. It wasn't a clue as much as it was an attempt at lyricism.
But it was certainly a blast seeing folks try to figure out clues anyway!
So, the time is here to reveal a little more about these strangely sentient oozes. They comprise a new category of ooze called a blight. This is a subtype of ooze, all of which are very intelligent (the dumbest one in the group has an Int of 15), all of which are quite powerful (the CR scores range from CR 13 to CR 19—I can't see any blights coming in future products that are CR 12 or lower, but there's absolutely room for blights above CR 19!), and all of which are linked to a remote, wilderness terrain.
Blights themselves were created eons ago by serpentfolk druids who worshiped the raw savagery of nature, and when they discovered a way to infuse the terrain itself with malevolence and sentience to recruit the land as yet another minion against their enemies, the first blights were born. But when they performed the ritual, it backfired... not only did the land liquefy and awaken, but so did their culture and the druids themselves. These druids, their sacred grounds, and the surrounding terrain transformed into a protoplasmic monstrosity that viewed all civilization (yes, including serpentfolk civilization) as the enemy. The first blight split itself apart into countless blots of slimy hatred and infested several different regions. The nature of those regions further shaped and forged these first blights' powers. The least powerful of them settled in the relatively lifeless deserts, where they developed powers of drawing moisture out of surrounding life and cursing their domains with extreme temperatures. The most powerful seeped into the deep caverns in the heart of the serpentfolk domain, absorbing radioactive ores and developing the power to petrify at a touch. Others settled in forests or mountains, sewers or swamps, and even in the frozen tundra. All possess spell-like abilities, a favored terrain, the ability to curse that terrain, and a tendency to rejuvenate if you don't uncurse their realm after defeating them. Blights are also tailor-made to serve as "boss" monsters for wilderness-themed adventures, for while they detest other creatures that have intellects, they understand that such creatures make great agents and soldiers in their campaigns against civilization. That they save their agents for last in their murderous plans is an uncomfortable truth that all who serve blights eventually learn.
Although there's seven blights in all, I'm only gonna show off three of them, but that should be enough to get an idea of their shared physical traits and themes!